Friday, May 28, 2010

Holey Moley

Stix n Brix
Clayton NC

It sure is raining hard right now.  I hope that new hole in the MH roof handles it ok.  On Wednesday, Gin and I put a new antenna with booster on the roof.  It should help improve the cell phone signal.  That's what we use to surf the internet when we are on the road.  She did the work inside the small cabinet over the co-pilot seat and has bruises all over her arms where she had to twist and push in some very cramp quarters.  She drilled a small hole in the roof and I had the honors of crawling up on top to drill the rest.  It feels very odd drilling a hole about the size of a dime into a perfectly good roof.  I put a good amount of sticky butyl tape around the base.  She tightened it up from inside and said it works fine.

This morning, I took the MH in to get the yearly safety inspection done.  It's a bit of an aggravation.  You're there about 45 minutes when it only takes 5 minutes for them to check the lights and tires.  I've heard that South Dakota doesn't have a yearly safety inspection.  That's one thing to consider when we decide what mail forwarding service to use.  And of course, the jack didn't come up on it's own.  I had to do it manually.  When I got back home, the jack only came down half way.  So we are planning to leave it with the dealer for a few days in early July to have the solenoid replaced.  Maybe we can test drive that Winnebago Tour while we are there.  No plans to trade anytime soon but it would be nice to see how smooth it rides.

Well, I'm working a couple more days but it won't take long to get Wanda ready for the next trip.  Join us in the mountains near Brevard NC.  It's a beautiful place.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mundane between trips

Stix n Brix, NC

I've been busy with work the past few days, but I did get a chance to take the MH to the dealer to finally get a new set of springs on the lazy jack on Wednesday.  I had called them in early April and was told that they would have the springs ready for us when we got back from our trip to the RV-Dreams rally.  The leveling jack was not coming up at all and we had to manually pull it up.  It didn't stop us from going to the rally or to Cedar Point though.  ;)  Well I was pleasantly surprised when it was installed in only about 30 minutes and he didn't charge me.  He said the jack was still slow so we needed to work it a few cycles to see if it helps.  It may need a new solenoid.  I'm sure that'll take a few days and it won't be free.  If that's the case, we might wait until winter to get it fixed.

I spent Wednesday afternoon doing some yard work.  The grass sure needed to be cut and I trimmed the rose bushes back.  It's rained a lot since then so the grass will need it again soon.  I won't miss that vicious cycle when we hit the road next fall.  After working an off-duty job Wednesday night, I took Gin to her doctor's office Thursday afternoon for her IV treatment.  She had prior approval from her new HMO doctor this time so we don't have to go through delays now.  That has taken a bit out of her but today her energy level has improved.

I worked day shift this week end and threw in a extra job on Saturday evening.  These extra jobs are a nice way to bring home a little more cash now and in the future.  It adds to my retirement income also.  It's basically based on the highest four years of income.

We are planning to visit with our folks tomorrow and then I have three night shifts ahead of me.  Memorial Day week end is coming up and I know a lot of people are looking forward to a vacation.  We are too, but it'll be right after Memorial Day.  We are going to the NC mountains and we can hardly wait!  Until then, let's all stay safe.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Grooming and Clothes

Stix n Brix, NC

It was time to take Smudge to the groomer in Smithfield.  Toy Poodles don't shed but you really need to have them shaved every couple of months or so.  She comes out with her ears so fluffy that they get in her food bowl while she eats.  I always wet them down when we get home.  I hope we have good luck finding dog groomers when we full-time.  I've thought about asking Gin to shape her up once in awhile when we hit the road but I'm afraid that Smudge will draw blood.  She is not a very nice dog.

While she was getting pretty, we went to the outlet shopping center near I95 to get some clothes.  I'll be the first one to say that I am very hard to buy for.  I know what I like and I'm stubborn.  We went to Ralph Lauren and got several t-shirts.  That was easy.  Gin got one of every color (almost).  Then we went to Eddie Bauer.  We each got some zip-off trekking pants and I got several pairs of rip-stop shorts.  One of every color.  They will be good for the road because they are light weight and dry quick.  No ironing of course.  Now I won't have to go shopping again for a few years.  When you can relate a clothes shopping spree to life on the road, you know you've got the wanderlust bad.  :)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

We’re Back…ugh

Stix n Brix, NC

We reluctantly packed up Thursday morning and left Cedar Point in our rearview mirror (or camera of the MH).  It was 270 miles round trip.  I like to drive on overcast days so it was perfect that way.  We got back to Clayton in the afternoon, and I immediately started washing clothes.  I don’t know why I always feel compelled to do a load or two as soon as we get back.  I guess it’s a part of transition to the reality of life.  Speaking of which, only 14 more months of work.  I’m looking at my shift work a little differently now.  I only have 14 more Friday nights, 14 more Saturday nights, and the other side of the schedule, only 14 more Friday days, 14 more Saturday days etc.  Can ya tell that I am really looking forward to our freedom?  I think that’s an understatement.  I’m so close to a good retirement package that I can’t just quit my job.  Anyway, I’ll be busy for the next several nights, and we have a busy week ahead of us with Gin’s treatment and my work.  Keep smiling and stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Relaxing and Pier Time

Cedar Point CG site #37
Croatan National Forest, NC

After such a wonderful day paddling, we took it easy on Tuesday.  It was a little cool and overcast so we did some stuff on the computers and made a run to the grocery store.  I walked around the CG and found a dogwood still in bloom.  It must be a hybrid that blooms later than the wild ones.

I also went out to the viewing area of the Tideland Trail to get some shots at the birds.  This Snowy Egret took off just as I stepped out from behind a bush.

This is the general view with the town of Swansboro on the other side of the water.


There were a lot of little crabs in the marsh.  They only had one big claw.  If I was real quiet, I could hear them eating.  It was probably a couple hundred of them.


There are several of these nice pedestrian bridges on the trail.  I was talking with another couple out there that said the Snowy Egret had a nest under one of the bridges.


Here’s that boat landing where we launched the kayaks and the resident Snowy Egret.  It’s really too shallow for anything other than a canoe or kayak.

Wednesday was a little warmer and windy.  We went to Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier in Emerald Isle.  They don’t charge anything if you just want to walk out for a few minutes.  Here’s Gin.

There was some other nice scenery there.

A couple of guys were trying to surf even if they were close to the pier.  It looks like a lot of work with so little in return.

While there were a lot of pigeons around the pier, I did get some seagulls in the viewfinder.


There was also this really big, loud bird that flew by several times…

I’m sure the Harrier Jet came out of Jacksonville NC which is close by and is home of the Marine Corps Base of Camp Lejeune.  As a matter of fact, they have been doing some training with artillery because we could hear it all day Tuesday and into the night.  It sounds a little like distant thunder.

We ended the day by taking Julie and Steve out to the Icehouse in Swansboro for supper.  It was a nice way to end our week here.  Yep, we are leaving tomorrow.  I don’t think we’ll have any problem adapting to a slower pace when we finally get to our full-time life.  We don’t have to be tourists every day.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Near Perfect Day

Cedar Point CG site #37
Croatan National Forest

OK so I left ya hangin’ for a day or so.  I’m sorry but this is such a Sylville kinda place that it’s easy to loose track of time.  Sunday was Mother’s Day so of course we each called our Mom’s for a nice chat.  Cell phones have changed our lives mostly for the better.  We mainly hung around the CG on a beautiful day.  There are a few geocaches in the area and a couple right here in the park.  We had logged in some a couple of years ago, but one of them (Marsha, Marsha, Marsha) is a puzzle cache where you get the clues for the coordinates from the nice nature trail.  We used those to find the cache in the woods.  We relaxed some more, and Julie (the camp host) came over for a visit.  Her daughter was recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer after having battled other cancers in the past.  It’ll be an uphill battle.  Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family.

Monday was an absolutely gorgeous day.  It wasn’t very windy or humid so we got the kayaks in the water.  As we paddled out into the White Oak River, it was low tide and very shallow.  The bottom near the boat landing looks like dark chocolate brownie mix.  It doesn’t smell like it though.  We didn’t have our GPS with us but I remembered seeing an island cache on the geocache website and thought we might could find it.

It was kind of a long paddle but it was such a nice day that we thought we could do it.  We found the little green island and the cache and headed back to the boat landing.

We were paddling into a head wind but we got there by keeping it slow and steady.  I was surprised at how shallow it was.  Gin got some nice shots of some birds.  Here’s a seagull drifting in the air.

And a Snowy Egret at the boat landing.  As we approached, he of course flew off down the canal.

This was our first time using the hullavators after rowing for a few hours, and it was nice not to have to lift the yaks over our heads.  They weren't cheap but I think they are worth it for us shorter folks.   We got back to camp and fixed an early supper.  It still felt nice outside so Gin fixed a good campfire.  There is lots of honeysuckle at our site so the fragrance fills the air.  The hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees like it too.

There was an Osprey drifting on air current way above us and we could hear one in the distance.  As the day changed to evening, we sat by the fire and listened to the whippoorwill call for his mate.  It was a nice ending to a near perfect day.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Cedar Point NC

Cedar Point CG Site #37
Croatan National Forest

I first want to say “thank you” to those who left encouraging words about our yard sale last Saturday.  It seems like such a long time ago but it was a big step.  We are now at the CG in Cedar Point, NC near the beach of Emerald Isle.  It is part of the Croatan National Forest and is a very nice place to hang your hat.  We are on site #37.  It has a very private patio area and is the last site in the park.  It is also close to a water bib.  Our 50 foot hose reel just barely reaches.

Thursday, Gin left the house early with the kayaks on top of the Suki and the bikes in the rack.  Her cousin Pam left Rocky Mount, NC and arrived at the CG about 1:00pm.  It was nice to know that they had a good site.  After paying for our site and leaving the Suki here, Gin and Pam went to the shore for the afternoon.  They enjoyed sitting and chatting.  I left left work a little early and arrived at 8:15pm.  It was a long day.

Friday was a relaxing but warm day.  I moved the vu qube from it's bracket at the top of the ladder to the front of the roof to get it out from under the tree limbs.  Pam and I rode the bikes around the park some and down the nature trail.

While we were busy enjoying ourselves, Gin was busy helping some other campers with their satellite tv.  She’s so helpful that way.  We all went to the shore for a bit so that I could get some salt water and sand on my feet.  Pam mentioned that Captain Charlie’s in Swansboro was a good seafood restaurant so we all enjoyed an early supper there.  I even had leftovers for lunch the next day.

Pam left on Saturday.  I hope she enjoyed relaxing with us as much as we enjoyed having her join us.  Gin and I hung around the CG and napped a little in the afternoon.  It was a windy day but I grabbed the camera to take a some pics.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll post a few.  We may go for a paddle if the weather cools a bit and the wind dies down.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Need a break

Stix n Brix, NC

I've been working 12 hour days every day since Saturday and I've still got a couple more to go then I get a 7 day off break. Gin's been busy too. Today she cleaned up the garage since we decided to wait until Fall to have another yard sale. It is so nice to have room to walk around the two vehicles and a lot less clutter in the house. She gathered up her china and glassware to give to one of her nieces who is getting married this weekend. She will also get another gift.

We need a vacation. We put the kayaks on top of Suki in the new hullavators and it still fits in the garage. I took the MH to the gas station and put a Benjamin in the tank so we're just about good to go. Gin has done all the other prep work this week so we can go to the beach near Cedar Point Thursday afternoon. Her cousin Pam will join us there. She is about 34 months from retiring and she is thinking seriously about full-time rving too. She was raised in a family that enjoyed camping also. She has a weird schedule too and needs a break from life's stresses. We are all looking forward to letting the waves bury our feet in the sand while we let our worries blow away in the ocean breeze. A campfire would be nice too. Until then...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Yard Sale

Stix n Brix

You sure can tell when I'm in the worst part of my work schedule. I just don't have time to do a post. We've been busy in other ways too.

Gin has been busy the past few weeks putting some stuff in an empty room used as a staging area for a yard sale. Well Friday evening, I helped her get it all moved out to the garage for the yard sale today. Needless to say, I didn't sleep much last night. When my mind is on something, it's hard for me to sleep. Not to mention switching from day shift to night shift all the time. We got up early to get things moved out into the driveway and bring out a few last minute items. I don't know how we could have done it without a garage to do the last staging.

We had advertised it on craigslist and a fella had emailed to say that he was interested in the small generator we mentioned. He came by here on Thursday to buy it and a few other things. We had put up a sign in front of the subdivision too on Monday. We also put another sign up on Wednesday to our culdesac so a lot of people in the neighborhood knew about it too. We even had two women knock on our door at 9:00 Friday night to see if we would let them take a look since they don't get up early. Even though our signs and everything said 7:00, our first customers showed up at 6:15. All the good stuff was gone by 8:00 but we stayed set up until 10:00. Almost everything sold to our surprise. Our old puzzles stayed for a long time but the right couple came along and bought a dozen of them.

We are tired but we do feel like some of the burden has been lifted. It is true what they say about getting rid of that unnecessary "stuff" that everyone has. It feels a bit liberating, and it feels like the dream is going to become a reality. We mentioned to a few customers that we planned to sell everything and hit the road in the MH and they all said that it sounded wonderful. They wished that they could do it. We know that there is a lot more to get rid of, but this was a very good first step. Craigslist will come in handy next year when the furniture and other big items need to go to new homes.